I received an awesome email yesterday from one of my former campers, and I just had to share. Grace, who attended the Austin camp, wrote a lovely letter and attached these truly great before and after pics of her dining room. Design Camp is basically the most fun I have ever had at a job, and getting emails like this is part of the reason why. Grace writes:

I attended your Design Camp in Austin last summer (and loved it!). I thought I'd include a few before and after pictures of my house to show you what we've been working on since Camp. I keep thinking I'll send some when we finish this or that, but it's never really done, is it? 

I had a baby at the beginning of the summer and when our photographer came out to take newborn pictures of our girl, she took some of our house as well. The problem areas I had shown at Camp were my dining room/breakfast nook and my bedroom.  In our discussion at Camp, you suggested painting the dining room black, painting and recovering the chairs, and taking down the plate racks and hanging my collection of plates together. My husband and I have tried some crazy paint colors in the past, but I don't think I'd ever have been brave enough to do black without your suggestion. We did it and we love it! Oh, and you are so right about how pictures allow you to see the room in a new way. Since we've gotten the pictures back from the photographer, it's made me see so much better what things need to be changed or moved around, etc.  So interesting how much it helps just to look at it as a picture.  

There is a hallway to the right of the dining room, and we are currently making arrangements to have wallpaper put up.  I've been dying to have wallpaper somewhere ever since Camp and can't wait for it to happen. My husband and I really enjoy doing house projects together and he always seems to get on board with an idea of mine quicker if I say something you told us in Camp.  For example, in advocating for the wallpaper:  "AB told us that you shouldn't neglect hallways...."  Camp was such a special experience for me.  I will always think of it with such fondness.  

Thank you so much, Grace, for your sweet letter. And without further ado, let's look at that dining room! Before:

Aaaaaaaaand... after!

Photos by Hannah Kate Photography

It's gorgeous, right? I think so. What a transformation you can achieve with just a few changes.

Oh, and hey: do you want to come to camp, and you live in or near Raleigh, Washington, DC, or New Orleans? You're in luck. Sign up here! A million thanks to Grace for sharing!

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The above image is from my Philadelphia camp a couple of weeks ago. Everyone received a new item that Clementine Emily has been working her little fingers to the bone on -- a leather-bound measuring tape! Can you think of anything better? I cannot.

And now a couple of impt AB Chao Design Camp notes:

1. I have one (ONE) (1) (wun) spot open for Denver this Saturday, due to a cancellation. Go get it!

2. All other camps are on sale, as well, starting right now and continuing until further notice. Why? Because I am the mother and I said so. No coupon code necessary -- just sign yourself up.

3. New city announcements coming soon, once I figure out where we are going. As ever, stay tuned!

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Hey, hey! If you would like to attend an upcoming design camp and would like a coupon code and to enter a giveaway, scroll yourself down to the bottom!

This recap is a two-parter. First up: ATL Mini Camp! This one was historic, featuring two of my oldest friends, and our first guy camper, hooray!

We found the camp space via AIRBNB, what are the odds? It was beautiful and natural light-y and the perfect size for our design-learning needs. I also got all crafty and made some tassel balloons and fringed garland. That was fun for about five minutes, but the effort paid off in festiviosity.

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My campers take good notes, even though they receive a PDF full of notes after camp. They're quite studious.

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For a special treat, Ally of From The Right Bank was kind enough to come give a lunchtime talk about Atlanta-based design stuff. She is very adorable and tiny and smart. Thanks, Ally!

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As if that weren't enough, my beloved Ben Corda drove over from his new town in Tennessee, took photos all day, held a little photography seminar for us, AND took fun portraits of everyone after camp (see below). That boy is truly the best, I don't care what his mom says about him.

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Ben Corda may or may not have been hungover at this time.

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A sampling of Ben's portraits. At left: Allison, feigning surprise that she got roped into acting as intern for the day.

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Sisters!

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How cute is this ATL group? Look at them, all smiles, even with their brains falling out from listening to me yammer about paint colors for eight hours.

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Next up: Boston! I can't remember how I found Michael Warren and his incredibly gorgeous 110k Studios, but I am so glad I did. Michael was lovely and generous with his time AND equipment -- he loaned me a camera after I realized I'd forgotten mine. We are now in love and I'm planning to move into his studio in the fall. 

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My Boston campers were so much fun, and also featured new friends. Here, they're learning "50 Ways To Dewit." Shut up, it's not dirty.

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Camp goodies! The ever-present "Be Brave" prints courtesy of Holly from her shop, Charm & Gumption. My best pals at Illume sent a box of gorgeous candles that I nearly kept for myself. And sweet Emily from Clementine put together an adorable gift package, including a tote bag, a note card, and a handmade bookmark. Stop being so awesome, y'all. (Please don't stop.)

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Audra, with her giant brain, clearly using some vocabulary I have never heard.

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Oh, hey, did you want Homemade Rice Krispy treats with rainbow sprinkles? Why didn't you come to camp, then?

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Michael had this photo hanging on the back wall of his studio. Mardi Gras dog, I love you.

Two of the campers work at Lindt. They brought bags and bags of delicious chocolate. I am sorry, but I ate it all.

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Michael also held a super good-time portrait session at the end of camp. How do I keep getting so lucky, I ask you? It was so much fun. There are tons more pics at the AB Chao Design Camp FB page

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This is Janelle. She was at Boston camp and has good hair. Janelle would like you to know that, if you sign up for camp in the next week, you will receive a 10% discount with the coupon code DESIGNCAMP10.

ALSO! GIVEAWAY! At the end of next week (Friday, June 28), I will choose a random registrant who will win a free pass to design camp. You can use the pass for yourself, or bring a friend! All you have to do to enter is sign up for any upcoming camp, here. And don't forget to use your coupon code: DESIGNCAMP10.

GO TO CAMP: PHILLY MINI (JULY 13)  |  DENVER MINI (JULY 27)  |  MINNEAPOLIS (AUG 3-4)

 

All photos: Ben Corda and Michael Warren.

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Photo: Ben Corda

Boston Campers who are already signed up for next weekend (Apr 27-28), please be looking for an email from me tomorrow regarding location, parking, and more pertinent info.

As for the rest of you: Dear Boston, I am sick over what happened at the race -- both as a human, and as a runner -- but I have been continually inspired by your courage and grace in the face of such a terrible thing. My thoughts are with you all. I am happy that I will get to see your great city in person next weekend.

My Boston camp reached capacity last week, but I've opened up five more spots because I know there are a few of you on the wait list. Use coupon code BOSTON262 for 10% off. Thanks and I can't wait to see you all next week! I hope to be regaled with stories of Boston's awesomeness.

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Good news, ATL! I am coming to your town the first weekend of April to teach y'all some STUFF. This super-fun mini camp will be held on Saturday, April 6 from 10 - 5. Location TBA, as I'm still scouting spots. (If you have something in mind, get at me!)

Now, I need at least 10 students to make this thing go, so sign your little selves up now! The 10% off coupon still applies -- use code FRIENDS10. (NB: That coupon is good for all camps through the weekend!)

Hooray! I am excited. Hey, do y'all think Ludacris will come?

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Los Angeles Camp!

Happy Monday, y'all! I have a big old giant LA camp recap coming up later in the week, but today I just wanted to give you some camp notes, along with a fun little coupon. Hooray!

1. Denver! Due to my ongoing lame-brainedness and lack of scheduling prowess, your camp is now a Saturday-only mini camp. It's going to be from 9-4 on March 23, and you're going to learn so many things and have so much fun that your brains will spin. UPDATE: Camp will be located at Blue Dot Studio in Denver, just south of downtown.

2. To make it up to y'all, I'd like to offer a coupon for new signups and for those of you who have already signed up: if you sign up with a friend, you will both receive a 10% discount, using the coupon code FRIENDS10. Just put your friend's name in the PayPal comments box so I'll know y'all are legit. Heh. PS, This offer is good all the way up to the day of the Denver camp.

3. ATTENTION: The friends discount applies to ALL camps through the end of this week -- Friday, March 8 -- so get on it

4. I'm thinking of adding a mini-camp in Atlanta in early April. What say you, ATL?

5. If you've signed up for a camp recently and haven't received a confirmation, fret not! It's on its way.

OK, I think that is all I've got for today! Y'all have a great Monday. I will be over here in my sick bed, as I woke up with Mongolian Body Rot. It's pretty gross.

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My hotel room, Chicago 2012

Happy weekend, friends! Just a few things before I shut it down for the week and open this bottle of wine.

1. There are two (2) spots left for the SLC Mini Camp. Hurry, hurry! It's in two (2) weeks!

2. Many of you have written to ask when I will be scheduling the rest of the locations I mentioned in the cities announcement post -- Atlanta, New Orleans, San Francisco, and Vancouver. If I have not scheduled them yet, that means they will all take place in late summer/early fall. So don't worry, they are still happening! I just don't know when yet.

3. I am sad about it, but I may have to cancel the Dallas Mini, due to a scheduling conflict with a certain high school senior's crazy schedule. I may add it back in the summer/fall, but honestly there hasn't been much interest in Texas in general, so maybe it's for the best. 

4. I'm looking for a) an event space and b) an intern for both Los Angeles (Feb 9-10) and Denver (Mar 23-24). If you have information regarding these items, please leave it in the comments or email me

5. Tomorrow, a big group of DC campers are getting together for brunch and shopping. They have been so good about staying in touch with each other, and even made themselves a little Facebook group to discuss such important subjects as cardboard unicorns and rug sales. Would any of you former (and future!) campers like for me to make a group like that for y'all? I can't decide whether it should be city-specific or just one big amalgamated party. Thoughts? Opinions? Give it to me.

And now, some lovely photos from the Chicago camp, which seems like a hundred years ago now.

We Are The Barkers' studio. Such a great place to have camp. Thanks, Barkers!

I did a little contest for the first time ever, and these cute Ban.do hearts were the prizes. The questions were hard, too, like, "What is my favorite color of white paint?" 

Please note random football stuck behind pipe on studio wall.

Cake balls! I have never had a cake ball in my life. They were pretty good.

Special guest Nicole answered lots of Chicago-related questions, and also revealed her talent for magic tricks. Just kidding, I have no idea what she is doing here.

What a cute group. Thanks, Chicagoans, for an amazing mini camp in your fair (windy) city!

 

Want to come to camp? Of course you do!

January: SALT LAKE CITY MINI

February: LOS ANGELES

March: DENVER

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